New National Anthem
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New National Anthem
This America by Childish Gambino is the video with in-depth emphasis on the social factors, and both the music as well as lyrics are not limited to the entertainment. The music video gives the viewer the insight of the most pressing concern that America is facing at present "Gun control." The video revolves around the violence in America that is caused by guns throughout the states. It shows that firearms are used as entertainment on the one hand and on the other hand it has become the national concerns for the country. The music is not aimed to get artistic applause and is not competing with other music from the industry. This America by Childish Gambino delivers the message in a way that seems the most realistic by making it both entertaining and infotainment. The song is based on the counter-narrative as it shows both dancing and gun violence. The music video shows that some people say that everything is alright even when the violence is happening on a daily basis in America. It gives the real vision of the society, and the way society is trying to tackle the problem by just turning their attention away from them. Throughout the video, the viewers can see that the central narrative of the song through the public description of the Childish Gambino. He tries to describe the problem while at the same time try to deviate the viewer from the issue. The video shows how serious the problem of violence is and how the black people, in particular, are effect by it in American society while the society is trying to avoid the problem by just ignoring it and pretend that their life is happy.
The title of this video proves that it is about the United States as it states "This is America" however the music itself has some South African tone to it. Black men are the focus of this song which is clear from the lyrics of this video. The appearance of the term black is extensive in the lyrics of this video which makes it clear that the video is talking about violence and the African American community. In many scenes, viewers can notice that violence is accompanied by dance. This might seem odd, but the scenarios are representing the racist history of America and how it has taken the lives of many black people even the innocent black church-going people. After the violence, Childish Gambino starts to dance again as if nothing has happened which signify how meaningless the lives of black people are perceived (Marte, p.p.99-101). The video can capture the violence in American society with an emphasis on how the lives of black people are affected by the violence of society. The music video delivers it message from both general and white perspective.
The narrative of Childish Gambino is evident throughout the video, and all the instances of the video are directly or indirectly related to the issue of gun violence. In the opening of the video, a man is shown to while he is strumming the guitar and choral sound of the guitar could be heard. As the song continues Childish Gambino shoots the man and the gun are then handed to another man who wraps it in a red colored cloth, and the man who is shot in the head is slowly dragged away. Soon after that, the music is shifted to the first chorus of the rap that states "This is America." During this time the song moves from the choral tone of the guitar which allows Childish Gambino to voice the contradiction surrounding the topic at hand and the viewers can see the humanity of Gambino. In these phrases, Childish Gambino is trying to show the idea regarding the perception of black people earning money (Feliciano-Santos, p.p.10-105). It discusses what it means to be a black person in America. The music at this point is still related to the African community however when the gunshot is fired music changes. After the shots are fired, the music is shifted to trap music. In the initial moments, it is not sure who Childish Gambino could be as it could turn out to be anyone because he in this specific song is representing an entire community. The stardom that surrounds the Childish Gambino is meaningless at this moment because he is the representation of the black community. Hi, skin color and the style of his hairs tells the audience that this an African person, not Childish Gambino.
Throughout the video, viewers can see Childish Gambino dancing with a group of black kids with uniform, and they smile while violence is happening in the background. The kids in their school uniform dances and laughing without caring about anything as they dance. This scenes of kinds of dancing while violence is erupting in the background open the doors to multiple interpretations of the event. One explanation could be that the art of African American is used to distract people from the real problem that is happening in America. The practicality of it could be understood through the analyzation of this video because most viewers won't even notice the violence erupting in the background as they would be too busy watching the dancing kids (Smith, p.p-5-10). However, when the whole video is taken into context view can grasp the idea as the violence is in constant flow. The transition from one dancing moment to another is occupied by violence so that the viewer can understand the meaning in regards to video.
Further analyzation of the video also gives another perception of the video. The video shows that even when many American would think that the popular culture can help them escape from society, there is still no escape for the people. The social violence that the American society has created will continue to sustain if our choices remain the same. The way Childish Gambino dances in the video shows how people in general precise the culture. The moves that Gambino makes during the music video come from different African cultures which signifies that he is the representation of all African culture in the American Society (Simmons, p.113-114) The dancing moves could also mean that dance from multiple cultures of African society have lost their supremacy and African culture has become one unified culture. It is a debatable factor how much inconsistency and violence exist when it comes to the perception of pop culture, and the violent aspects of different pop culture are an integral part of this situation.
The gunned down choir singers are another essential part of this video. They are singing happily, and during this moment of happiness, all of them are shot by Childish Gambino. This specific scenario can be related to the 2015 Massacre of Charleston shooting and how quickly the authorities responded to that incident. During the Massacre of Charleston, a white supremacist named Dylann Roof killed nine black people in the basement of a church (Williams, Kidada and Keisha, p.p.1-2). This scene of the video shows the viewer how people, reconcile and perceive the two the different incidents of violence differently. When society is absorbing violence through various mediums such as TV, Movies, Video games, and the internet, then it is difficult to incorporate the authentic instances of mass murders in society. Violence I snow all around the society, and people cannot escape it as the tentacles of violence are much broader in society. Viewers watch the violence o daily basis either in the digitalized world or the real world which makes it difficult to separate real violence from virtual violence.
The most important part of the video is when Childish Gambino is running at the end of the video, and a horde of people follows him. During this sequence, Gambino is terrified and is running down the dark hallway while being chased by people. This moment also showcases some racial slurs that are pointed towards Childish Gambino which make it clear that he is being perused people based on the color of his skin (Cohan, p.p.105-110). The event represents the entire black race because their history regarding their escape from violence is quite long. This sprint of Childish Gambino is linked to the sprint of African American people during slavery in the 19th century. The running of black people from slavery has an older history which has been part of American culture for a long time.
The song "This is America" is about the American society and how violence has become a part of the new American society that has been escalated by the racist history of this country. The video starts with African music, and a person is shot which states that music is about violence and the African American community. This music then shifts to the trap music signifying the neutral perspective from general Americans. Viewers can see the violence erupting in the background while kids dance without any care signifying the distraction of African American art. Gambino in this video represents the entire community of African Americans, and further events show how violence is exploited through the Massacre of Charleston. The music video shows that violence has become a severe problem in American society and how black people are affected by this increased violence.
Cohan, Deborah J. "Considering Rage and Gender in Donald Glover's “This is America”." Anthropology Now 10.2 (2018): 106-111.
Feliciano-Santos, Sherina. "Visibility and Agency: An Analysis of Media Responses to Childish Gambino's “This is America”." Anthropology Now 10.2 (2018): 102-105.
Marte, Lidia. "What is America? Graphic Impressions." Anthropology Now 10.2 (2018): 99-101.
Simmons, Kimberly Eison. "Race and Racialized Experiences in Childish Gambino's “This is America”." Anthropology Now 10.2 (2018): 112-115.
Smith, Sedrick. "Purple Visions of Blackness: Prince’s Expansion of the Depictions of Black Experiences Through his Music Videos." Howard Journal of Communications (2018): 1-16.
Williams, Chad, Kidada Williams, and Keisha Blain, eds. Charleston Syllabus: Readings on race, racism, and racial violence. University of Georgia Press, 2016.
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